Q&A: KC Badger is Fly (fishing)

courtesy of the dagger zone

I always tend to be interested in what riders get into outside of BMX (Yes, it is possible to be passionate about more than one thing). KC Badger is a good example of that. If you follow KC on Twitter (or know him personally), than you already know how into fishing he is. I’ve read enough tweets about it that it piqued my interest enough to throw some questions his way. The outcome is pretty personal and gives you a good perspective on where he is coming from.

Click below to check it out. Thanks to The Dagger Zone for the pics.

What’s up KC, how are ya?
Hey! I’m great. Just got home from a little camping trip and am now stealing the local coffee shops internet to pay some bills and escape the brutal AZ desert summertime temps, ha!

Let’s talk fishing. Based off some of your tweets, you are quite into it. Tell us a little about that.
I am! I started fishing with my father when I was a little kid. We would go on camping trips up to the white mountains here in AZ (where I actually just got back from), and we would spend up to a week camping and fishing for trout in the various lakes and rivers in the mountains. Like many other children (I was around 7 or so), my attention span wasn’t suited for regular bait fishing, i.e. cast some worms out and wait for the fish to come around. My father fly fished, so I was constantly bugging him to teach me how, it just looked like more fun and you got to whip the rod around and you were never just sitting there! It didn’t take to much convincing and soon enough you could find my father and I side by side fly fishing, and even making our own flies when we were home in preparation for the next trip up north.

Fishing and camping played a huge part in my upbringing and a lot of my fondest memories from childhood come from my time spent in the forest. After my father passed away it seems that I had completely forgotten about my passion for fishing, and I directed my energy towards the other things in life such as BMX, Art, girls, friends and all the other teenage/young adult things. But, a few years back a group of friends and I went on a camping trip up to one of the lakes my father and I used to frequent, and I thought that I’d bring along my old flyrod just to pass the time until we could build the worlds biggest fire and get drunk and pass out in the trees! And as the story goes… as soon as I cast out and caught my first fish on the flyrod in about 10 years. I was addicted, and found myself constantly thinking of how and when I could get out fishing again!

How is Fly fishing different than regular fishing?
Fly fishing is different than conventional fishing in various ways. First and most importantly, in fly fishing you use artificial bait that mimicks insects (hence the word “fly”) made out of feathers and other animal furs. But, you can make a fly to mimick ANYTHING a fish can and will eat, from small fish, crabs, mice and anything in between.

Secondly, the whole rod/reel and fishing method is different. Being that the flies can be very small (think of the smallest flying insect you have seen, then picture a hook on it, or even further.. think of the larvea that bug came from with a hook on it.. tiny!) in fly fishing, you are using the weight of the line instead of lead weights to get the flies out into the water. There are different types of this line, some that floats (for flies that float as well or flies that run just under the surface) and lines that sink (for deeper running bugs, fish, etc). These lines are often very bright in color so that the fisherman can see them. Attached to the end of this casting line is a leader and tippet made out of what looks to be “normal” fishing line…. line that the fish (hopefully) can’t see. Attached to the end of that is your fly.

And thirdly, casting! Casting is where Fly fishing really differentiates itself from the other types of fishing, and this is where fly fishing gets fun. Like I said before, you use the line weight to get the fly’s out, by doing so you are basically whipping the line out in front of you/behind you in front, behind each time letting out a bit more line until you have reached the desired distance of line you want out. Once you have cast the fly out, there are various types of retrieves that suit what fly you are using, and what the fish are feeling that day. Retrieving the fly is also different than conventional fishing, instead of just using the reel to, for lack of a better word, Reel your lure back, you simply just strip the line back in (most the time onto a pile on the ground! ha). This retrieval method is both functional and one of the things that makes fly fishing (in my opinion) more fun than conventional fishing. In stripping the line you can feel EVERYTHING that is happening on the end of your line both in the hand that is holding the rod and in the other hand that is holding the line that you are stripping in.

Fly fishing can be VERY delicate, so being able to feel the slightest “bump” can make or break you bringing that fish in. Once you have hooked a fish, fly fishing continues to be different, here you have an option. You can continue to “strip” the line in and fight the fish with both the rod and your line, or you can reel in that slack line that you have piled up on the ground and fight the fish on the reel and rod. And if you have caught a big fish, you will want to chose the latter. Most reels have a complicated drag system ensuring that the line will keep tension and the fish can’t spit out the hook.

Fly fishing sounds very complicated, and it is to a certain extent, but that’s what I like about it. In fly fishing, I feel that you are more involved in catching the fish. Everything that you do while fly fishing directly effects you catching fish. You aren’t leaving it up to chance that a fish will swim by and eat your bait. You are actively hunting the fish, matching what it looks like you think they will be eating and then when it’s all said and done, fly fishing is the best form of fishing in which you can have your fun in catching the fish. Also, the fish can be released relatively unharmed, and you very very rarely have to worry about a fish swallowing the fly and therefore killing it. And beyond that, because of fly fishing I have a greater understanding of fish/nature, biology, entemology, and I can use my interest in art by creating fly patterns in ways that maybe the average fly fisherman may not.

courtesy of tony/the dagger zone

What kind of fish are you normally after? Anything in particular, or whatever’s biting?
Honestly, I like to catch any and all fish for different reasons. The time of year, the weather and accessability play a huge roll in what I will be fishing for. Of course I have my favorites, but I honestly more than anything, just enjoy being outside in nature figuring out the game of ways to put fish on the end of my line. Certain fish are easier to catch than others, and like everything else in life, the chase is often more fun than the catch!

Back in the day, my friends and I used to get Big Gulps and fish in local sumps. My weapon of choice was a broom handle with a string on the end. Assuming that your current setup is sweeter than what I used, give us a little breakdown of what you use to get shit done.
Haha, I have so much fishing shit now it’s unreal. And I ALWAYS think I need more.

Currently I have 2 rod set ups, I have an 5 wt Orvis clearwater rod that was my fathers, but I use a Reddington cpx rod that is 5wt with a fast action. Most often, 5wt refers to the weight of the line that you are casting with and also relates to the size of fish you are catching. The bigger the weight of the rod, the bigger fish it can handle. There are weight rods that can handle fish from the size of minnows to huge ocean sailfish and sharks. My 5 wt. is right there in the middle since that’s the size fish I am catching.. nothing typically very big.. nothing ever terribly small (hopefully) aside from the rod. I have 2 Lamson reels. One with floating line and the other with a sinking line in hopes that I can have all the bases covered when fishing.

Aside from the actual fishing rods themselves, I have waders, boots, a vest, tools for tying knots, pliers for getting hooks out, line cutters, hook sharpeners, etc… and hundreds of flies, flies ranging from midge larvea that are extremely small to large baitfish patterns (up to 10 inches in length). The type of fish you are fishing for obviously effects fly choice. To add to that, I have boxes full of feathers, animal furs, sparkly tinsel, fake human hair, yarns, anything and everything that I think I could make a fly from.

And Lastly, since I’m the only one of my immediate group of friends this addicted to fishing, I have a personal boat that I use when out on the lakes. It’s a tiny float tube, basically think of an inflatable tube for sledding with a canvas case over it that I sit in the middle of and wear flippers to swim around the lake. Catching a big fish in the tube is the best! Fish will pull you around the lake! ha!

courtesy of tony/the dagger zone

You recently took a trip to Alaska. Is that like the “Austin” of fishing? How was it up there and was it worth the trip?
Haha, I guess Alaska would be like the Austin of fishing, PERFECT! Haha ALASKA!!! Even if you don’t have one part of your body that gives a shit about fishing, if you ever have the chance to go to Alaska, do it! That place is magical. It is one of the last places on earth where you can really go to land that has been untouched by humans. HUGE rugged glacier topped mountains, dense old growth forests, wild bears, deer, fox, moose, elk, and Alaska has Bald Eagles like NYC has Pigeons, they are EVERYWHERE! And of course, Alaska has water, waters that are FULL of fish.

I went up with a friend of mine whose family lives in Kodiak. Kodiak is a fishermans paradise. The island is about the same size as the big island of Hawaii, but most of it is wild. There is one road, which is only about 75 miles long from top to bottom, leaving 90% of the island uninhabited. HUGE populations of salmon run from the ocean into the rivers where they were born on kodiak every summer, and I was lucky enough to be there during the time that the sockeye (red) salmon were running. BIG STRONG fish are the result of anything that lives in the ocean and catching them was a chance of a lifetime that I wasn’t about to pass up. Along with the salmon I caught halibut, dolly varden, rock fish, Black bass, rainbow trout, flounder and sea trout. Literally any water you found had some sort of fish waiting to be caught. I spent 10 days straight exploring beaches, rivers, lakes, and the deep ocean in awe of the beauty, and in awe of the fish that I was catching.

Did you see Sarah Palin?
I didn’t, but a brewery in kodiak made a beer called the Sarah “Pale”in which was a blonde pale ale, which I thought was funny and delicious!

Any gnarly stories?
Nothing really that gnarly, and one thing I’ve learned over the years is that there are kooks in everything in life. fishing is definitely no different! ha.

Have you ever eaten any of the fish you’ve caught? If so, how was it?
Haha, sounds dumb but.. I dont typically like the taste of fish. I fish for the sport of it. Catch the fish, take their picture then release it to be enjoyed and caught by someone else. But the fish I caught in Alaska I brought home, and we had a giant fish fry/BBQ with a bunch of friends one night. And the fish up there is honestly the best fish I’ve ever had in my life, if it all tasted that good my thoughts about releasing all the fish might be a little different.

courtesy of Tony/The Dagger Zone

How do you balance out riding and fishing? Do you ever get into “should I go riding?” or “should I go fishing?” dilemmas?
Haha, I have dilemmas like that all the time and I have tons of hobbies in which to fight in my head about what I should be doing. I try to do them all and am currently working on ways to do something that incorporates fishing, bmx, and art! Ha.

My knowledge of fishing is pretty limited, anything you’d like to add about it before we wrap this up?
Nothing other than to encourage everyone to take some time to go explore the area you live in. If not to fish, to at least get out there, try something new, do something a little different than what you usually do. You never know where it might take you.

Thanks KC!

8 responses to “Q&A: KC Badger is Fly (fishing)”

  1. oUTsider says:

    That was a really good read. Definitely made me want to go fishing

  2. crackerlack says:

    fish is healthy for you too!

  3. Tularehouse says:

    Very refreshing, time to dust off my fly rod and use it!

  4. Jack Elkins says:

    So good and it adds a new dimension to the way i understand the dude’s riding and shit, props to the grip’ for thinking this up

  5. Povah says:

    Fishing is definitely an amazing & fulfilling break from riding. Try it if you ever get the opportunity. Be patient & it can be very rewarding …. Not much compares !!

  6. Robin says:

    It is hard to think of something more different from bmx than fishing yet just as rewarding. For sure made me want to get back to the casting pond.

  7. Robin says:

    It is hard to think of something more different from bmx than fishing yet just as rewarding. For sure made me want to get back to the casting pond.

  8. And that is an funding risk price taking.